Its week three on the Primary School run for me, in my last post I blogged about some of the things this whole new world had taught me.  One of which was my need for a new coat.  It dawned on me its actually a pretty key item as its really the only item of your wardrobe anyone sees.

Currently my options are a Black Northface waterpoof, a Brown Northface bodywarmer and my summer jacket (its days are numbered by climate, wear & tear!)  Ever seen Victoria Beckham in a Northface?  No, of course not!   They’d be a reason for this and that would be that they score zero points on the fashion stakes, top marks for function but nil for fashion.  I was wingeing about my lack of outer style with stylist and now real life friend Liz Haydn who offered to share her advice on a post about coats for the school run which I thought you’d all like.  So without further ado here’s Liz’s low down.

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A coat is probably one of the most expensive purchases you make so it has to be right for you and a real investment, but not only that this is the one item that everyone sees regardless of what you’re wearing underneath.  So you want it to be stylish and maybe most importantly, dare I say it… functional.

The starting block for any new purchase has to be fit, not the size on the label but actually how our clothes fit us.  We all want our clothes to flatter us and we should not ignore our body shape when shopping for a new winter warmer.  If you carry your weight on your hips and bum, then you should be looking for a coat that balances out your lower half.  Look for coats with detailing on the top such as fur collars or wide lapels.Topshop Dark Khaki Faux Fur Hood Waxed Parka £98

If you are wider on top with narrower hips then you will suit fuller skirted coats, this body shape looks better with items that have less detailing on the top half.  Look for coats with no collars and avoid double breasted as this will only make you look wider.French Connection Flared Coat £190For those with a sporty or boyish figure you need your coat to create curves as this will give you a more feminine silhouette.   Volume and detail at both the top and bottom of the coat will have this effect.  A double-breasted coat will also give the illusion of a bigger bust.Warehouse Multi Stitch Coat £100If you carry your weight around your middle, the last thing you want to do is add any bulk to this area.  Your coat should nip you in at the waist and smooth out any lumps or bumps.  A belted V-neck is great for giving the illusion of an hourglass figure.Hobbs Reversible £499The most fortunate of the body shapes is the hourglass as you can wear most styles, make the most of your even proportioned cures and show off your waist.

Oasis Faux Leather Trim Belted Drape Wrap Coat £95If you’re on the shorter side avoid coats that falls below your knees and watch your arm lengths, don’t forget though if it fits you perfectly you can always get sleeves professionally shortened.

As well as fitting you properly a coat should be right for your lifestyle, if you spend most of your time pushing a buggy then make sure the coat feels comfortable with your arms outstretched and the sleeves are long enough to keep your wrists warm and dry.  Try your coat on with your handbag not only does this ensure it goes with it but you’ll get an idea of how it feels, some detailing on shoulder areas can make handbags slip of your shoulders or make the straps feel uncomfortable.  Run a few tests too, if it has a hood put it up, does it give you enough cover or even too much?  Are the pockets deep enough?  Will it keep you warm?  Think about what you’re going to be wearing underneath, some coats will not look right with certain length skirts so consider this too.

Whatever coat you go for choose a classic style, you’ll get years of wear out of it so now is not the time to skimp but buy quality.

Do not underestimate the impact a good coat after all regardless of what you’re wearing underneath a good fitting stylish coat will ensure you’re always looking fabulous.

Liz is a personal stylist that runs her own successful image consultancy, Elizabeth Haydn Style was formed after Liz had her second child and is committed to making fashion, style and confidence accessible to all.  In addition to personal shopping and wardrobe consultations for men and women across the North West, she also offers style parties and corporate styling, pamper packages and workshops.

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Twitter: @EH_Style